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Images of entrepreneurship: divergent national constructions of what it is to 'do' entrepreneurship.

Cunningham, James; Fraser, Simon S.



Roberta Mercante
Data Collector


In this research note, we further Alistair R. Anderson's argument that an atomized view of entrepreneurship as an economic function provides limited understanding of what it is to actually do entrepreneurship. We take the stance that entrepreneurship, as a process, is born of social context. What it is to be and what it is to do entrepreneurship is informed directly by the images of entrepreneurship accepted in society. To better understand the implications of this, we access the ways in which entrepreneurship is imagined in three ostensibly similar country settings: UK, Italy and Finland. We analyse the social discourses surrounding the concept from a sample of enterprise students across the three areas. Importantly, these participants are not entrepreneurs in their own right, but are considered interested stakeholders, in that the meaning they ascribe to entrepreneurship will partly inform their future approaches to it. We contrast data from 15 semi-structured interviews with policy commentary and measurable outcomes and find nuanced differences in how entrepreneurship is perceived and enacted. The implications of our findings encourage a more holistic approach to the study of entrepreneurship, avoiding the self-affirming dogma of the purely economic or purely constructionist.


CUNNINGHAM, J. and FRASER, S.S. 2022. Images of entrepreneurship: divergent national constructions of what it is to 'do' entrepreneurship. Entrepreneurship and regional development [online], 34(7-8): special issue in memory of Professor Alistair Anderson 'Social perspectives of entrepreneuring, pages 576-581. Available from:

Journal Article Type Article
Acceptance Date Mar 15, 2022
Online Publication Date May 5, 2022
Publication Date Sep 30, 2022
Deposit Date May 6, 2022
Publicly Available Date May 6, 2022
Journal Entrepreneurship and regional development
Print ISSN 0898-5626
Electronic ISSN 1464-5114
Publisher Taylor & Francis (Routledge)
Peer Reviewed Peer Reviewed
Volume 34
Issue 7-8
Pages 567-581
Keywords Context; Entrepreneurship; Social discourse; International comparison; Process
Public URL


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